The Art of Spring Tablescaping

Photo by: Claudia Reese

The beautiful spring came, and when nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also. ~ Harriet Ann Jacobs

Spring sometimes comes with a shock of hope.

When winter lasts and lingers, sometimes we forget there is even such a thing as spring. We know, of course, the season exists–intellectually speaking. But sometimes our hearts forget.

When spring comes, it brings in all kinds and colors of joy. It’s reflected in the art we create, the food we make, and the way we add its life and hues to our homes–which is an art form all on its own.

Maybe we remember how much our grandmother loved lilacs, and we may stop and appreciate their beauty in her honor and bring in cuttings for the table.

Because the spring of the now ties into the seasons of the past, and it makes us happy to incorporate the memories of the bygone years. So if it isn’t spring for you until your garden is covered in poppies, then bring on the poppies!

And take your own sacred version of the season and bring it to your table for a gorgeous, personal space. 

Here are some of our favorite tips.

Florals

Flowers aren’t everything when it comes to spring tablescaping, but it’s they’re certainly a great place to start.

When you pick the color scheme of your floral design, then you know what you need to do to tie in the rest of the table. Many people choose tableware that’s neutral and then use napkins to mirror the natural colors of the centerpiece.

Consider choosing long, lower containers for the flower so your guests can still see each other. Or, you could use multiple smaller vases filled with loose bouquets and spaced in between the sightline.

Also, make sure the table isn’t so crowded that your friends can’t eat comfortably. If the plates are crowded, you may have overdone it and need to pull back on fashion in favor of function.

A Decorative Gift

A lovely touch for your guests is to place a small offering on their plate. 

You can use a rustic or silvery charger topped with a large plate and then a smaller one on top, which is often the layered plating chosen for spring, and then add a small decorative present for your guests on the smallest plate. 

For instance, you could place a pretty woven nest on each place setting filled with a trio of foil-wrapped or other egg-shaped treats. Or, place a large chocolate egg in an egg cup. You can also use the nest or cup as a placeholder, adding a pretty, personalized paper nameplate.

A container with a small bouquet at each place is a beautiful touch. You could also choose a living plant, turning your table into a ”host of golden daffodils” or another profusion of blooms that your guests can take home with them.

Go Local and In Season

What does spring look like where you live? The happiest blossoms in your region can often be the best choice for your tablescape. But don’t be limited by flowers; a centerpiece of greens can be transported on its own. Also, local fruit can be incorporated into your design. 

Shop your local farmers market with an eye to tablescaping. You might find some excellent ideas you’d never considered.

If using fruit, make sure they’re clean in case your guests want to eat those beautiful grapes, peaches–or whatever you’ve chosen–for their dessert.

Glassware

Laura Remmert, the owner of Laura Remmert Events, states that “adding a pop of color with your glassware is both a playful and elegant addition to any spring tablescape. A fun twist on classic black and white—the green accent glass brings a colorful touch to … tabletop design perfectly tying in the natural green in the flowers.” 

Photo by: Claudia ReeCse

This seems to work particularly well if you’re using white or pale blossoms for your spring tablescape. 

Extend Your Tablescape

Don’t leave your design all clumped together in the middle of the table. Extend your creation with a natural table runner such as greens or a collection of thin branches. You can also use a tablecloth folded lengthwise into thirds. In this case, we prefer organic cotton with natural dyes.

Also, a collection of small white, pastel, or silver candlesticks placed from the center of the table outwards will also extend your design. 

Happy hosting, friends! We hope you’re enjoying this spring season as much as we are.

Throwing the Perfect Easter Brunch

Spring is a lovely time to entertain. You can pull your inspiration from the greening world around you, from the tulips and daffodils popping up everywhere. Everyone is happier because the long winter, no matter how wonderful, tends to weigh on us as the cold weather settles in and then takes its time winding up. People are happier because spring is on the way. 

Then one day we wake up and we can feel the difference in the air. Time to go outside, spend some time in the garden, put away the puffy coats, and throw a cheerful, springtime brunch.

Here are a few tips to making your brunch an elegant affair.

Tablescaping

The wonderful part about entertaining at Easter is the decorative beauty of the season. Bring in pots of tulips, daffodils, and lilies. Scatter moss and branches and pull out your most cheerful linens. We particularly love our tanager yellow, rosefinch, or blues and greens  for spring.

Vintage dishware in pastels or fresh grassy greens makes a wonderful base for your table.

We particularly love the use of eggs in these tablescaping designs from onekindesign.com. The natural, rustic look with eggs in nests is elegant with the newness and freshness of spring. 

You can also appeal to the child’s heart in all of us with small Easter treats at each plate like a golden egg in a loosely gathered nest-like presentation. Who didn’t want to find the golden egg at Easter egg hunts?

If it’s warm enough to have an outside brunch, then by all means do so. Just have a back-up plan in case the weather cools. A pile of lovely shawls and throws is a nice touch, or you can be prepared to move the party inside.

The Menu

Not only are the decorations sensational, but a spring-inspired menu can also be full of the fresh and inviting joys of the season.

Brunches like this tend to have several dishes that people can try. If you choose to go this route, choose carefully. You’ll want to have most of them be simple or make-ahead favorites. 

Check out your local farmers markets and base your menu on the fresh produce you find there. A simple lemony avgolemono soup served with chopped dill or fresh mint can be a luscious addition, or you can go full spring with a creamy soup made from some pureed bright green asparagus.

I always like to have the best fruit I can find on the table, side by side with an array of specialty cheeses. 

A sourdough strata, like this one from Food Network, is made with plenty of vegetables, always appreciated, and can be made ahead of time. Love the addition of goat cheese!

I have to include this asparagus soup recipe from Once Upon a Chef, which is made with parmesan cheese and can even be frozen.

Asparagus Soup with Lemon and Parmesan

By Jennifer Segal

This asparagus soup tastes rich, yet it’s made without heavy cream — just veggies, broth, and a hint of Parmesan puréed to silky perfection.

Servings: 4-6

INGREDIENTS
2 bunches asparagus (about 2-1/4 pounds), bottom ends trimmed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, from one lemon
1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano

Handful fresh herbs, such as thyme, dill, or basil (optional, for garnish)

INSTRUCTIONS

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Do not brown; reduce the heat if necessary.

In the meantime, cut the tips off of one bunch of the asparagus and set aside (you’ll use those for a garnish). Cut the remaining spears and the other bunch of asparagus into 1/2-inch pieces.

Add the chopped asparagus to the pot (minus the reserved tips), along with the chicken broth, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender.

Meanwhile, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the reserved asparagus tips for a few minutes, or until tender-crisp. Drain the tips and then place them in a bowl of ice water to “shock” them — this stops the cooking process and preserves their bright green color. Once the tips are cool, drain and set them aside.

Purée the soup with an immersion blender until completely smooth. (Alternatively, use a standard blender to purée the soup in batches, then return the soup to the pot.) Bring the soup back to a simmer and stir in the lemon juice and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. To thicken the soup, allow it to simmer uncovered until the desired consistency is reached.

Ladle the soup into bowls, then top each bowl with asparagus tips, Parmigiano-Reggiano, herbs (if using), and freshly ground black pepper.

Freezer-Friendly Instructions: You can freeze the soup for up to 3 months. Defrost the soup in the refrigerator for 12 hours and then reheat it on the stovetop over medium heat until hot. (The soup will freeze best if you add the cheese when reheating.)

Happy entertaining!